Letters to My Children – May and June 2017

Dear Ariya,

May was a great month. We went to the fair during Apple Blossom, and saw some fire trucks.  It was your last month of pre-school in the 3s class at Sonshine Learning Center.  It seemed like you had a field trip or a birthday party every few days.  You even had your FIRST ballet recital on stage, as Tinkerbell.  You had so much fun you didn’t want it to end!  It was a hard concept for you to understand, “summer vacation”.  That you weren’t going back to school, that you won’t see your teachers or most of your friends.  I had to explain all the fun things that we were going to do, all the fun things we had planned.  Like to trip to see Daddy’s friends in Port Angeles, Washington.  Or the beach trip that we have planned with your cousins in July.  Or the swim lessons and soccer lessons that you were taking with your best friend Asher.  It took a little while, but by the time we were on the “jet plane” on our way to Seattle, you were ready to start the summer!

You had a great time in Seattle and Port Angeles.  We got to hang out with Niki didi and meet her new husband Nikhil.  We went to the Pacific Science Center and rode to the top of the Space Needle.  And the Seattle Aquarium and Pike Place Market was pretty awesome.  Then we borrowed Niki didi’s car to meet Daddy’s friends Cindy and Mike in Port Angeles.  It was so much fun!  We explored new places, got to check out beaches and tide pools, mountains and lakes.

June was even better!  You got to spend some quality time with Grandma and your cousins.  It was Asha’s first time away from us and you were the best big sister, helping make her feel comfortable.  You had such a blast, for the next few days afterwards, you talked about how much fun you had at Grandma’s, and how you wish you could go back and see your cousins, and how you wish you could do it again.  Lucky for you, we’ll be seeing Grandma and your cousins and aunties/uncles at the beach in July!

You also started playing soccer with your friends Asher and Ishanvi.  And while you love the games and the dribbling of the ball, I don’t think you’re much of a fan of the sport.  You kind of hang out by the goal net while everyone else chases the ball. Swimming is definitely more your thing.  You’re getting a little more comfortable putting your face in the water.  You’re kicking and gliding and having a ball.  I know you can’t wait to go to the beach and show everyone your moves.

 

Dear Asha,

Your daddy and I were so nervous for you and our plane trip to Seattle.  But you surprised me!  Out of the 5 hour plane ride, I think you napped for 3 in the ergo carrier.  Thank goodness for that!  Sleeping in a strange place in the pack and play, that’s another story.  It wasn’t….bad…but it wasn’t great.  Our strategy was to keep you busy, make sure you got your naps in (thank goodness for the ergo), and kept you up later than your usual bedtime.  It worked for the most part.  You had so much fun seeing all the new sights, meeting our friends, exploring everything.  It was a pretty fun trip, even if you spent a lot of it on our backs napping.

June has been just another month.  We’ve spent more time running around for Ariya’s events, playing at the park when you really want to play soccer with her.  Playing at the pool while she takes her lessons (you don’t really complain, but you hit a wall when it’s nap time).

You’re doing some cute things lately.  You said your first word at Grandma’s house.  We were looking at the mirror, and I pointed at you and said, “Can you say “Asha”?”  And you DID.  You said Asha!  I pointed at Ariya, and asked if you could say her name. AND YOU DID.  You’ve been saying “Dada” for forever.  And when I pointed at me and asked you to say “Mama”, guess what you said……..”DADA”.  And now it’s a big joke to everyone.  We all laugh, and I’m convinced that you know what you’re doing.  That’s ok.  I’m patient.  I can wait for you to say MAMA.

You also started doing the funniest thing.  Every time you have a poopy diaper, I ask if you have a stinky butt”.  You pinch your nose and say “peeeuuuuuu”.  So adorable.  You let it be known when you’re upset.  You scream when Ariya tries to take something that you’re playing with.  You bring me your shoes all the time when you want to go outside and play.  Sometimes first thing in the morning.  You love animals so so much.  So much that we can’t get to the pet store to buy dog food because I’m busy chasing you down after you see a dog that you want to say hello to.  No Asha, not all dogs are friendly.  But you do love our dogs.  You pet them, you’re so gentle with them.  And you pat Ariya and me all the time, on our arms and legs.  So sweet, when you want to be 🙂  There’s this song that I sing to Ariya to signal that it’s time to go to bed. “Now it’s time to say good night, say good night say good night, now it’s time to say goodnight, we had lots of fun”.  Every time I try to sing the song to you, you know what it means, and you SCREAM.  Do you not like my singing?  I won’t take offense.  I say this all the time.  But I really need for time to stop, or slow down.  You two are growing way too fast and it hurts my heart to know that I’m missing it, or that I’ll forget it.  Which is why you’re probably used to seeing me with a camera to my face.  I don’t want to forget a thing.

Nikon f100, Portra 160 rated at 320 and pushed +1

Nikon f100, Portra 400NC rated at 200 and pushed +1

Pentax 645nii, Portra 400

Pentax 645nii, Portra 160 rated at 320 +1

 

Letters to our Children – August

Dear Ariya,

August has been a pretty chill month.  You wrapped up your swimming lessons with Asher at the Winchester Country Club.  You went down the slide for the first time and attempted to swim on your own.  But I think we need to work a little on your swim strokes.  You like to put your face in the water, but only on your terms.

We’ve also gone to the playground a few times.  It’s been so hot though, so it hasn’t been that often.  So we’ve spent a lot of time indoors, where it’s air conditioned.  You are ever so active, running around, jumping off the couch, acting like a superhero.  You’re a great helper and big sister to baby Asha.  You’re always holding her and giving her your toys.  You’re also taking a lot of your toys away from her, but we’re working on your sharing.

You had your first movie experience!  We all went to see Finding Dory and you LOVED it!  We had popcorn and lemonade.  Asha took her nap in the ergo.  And you only got up once to pee in the potty.  I’d say it was a success!  Can’t wait to see our next movie.

Nani and Nanu came to visit.  You loved doing puzzles with them and showing them your yoga skills.  Nanu even did some yoga with you!

 

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Dear Asha,

You’re CRAWLING!  You are seriously crawling, and it’s crazy how fast and determined you are.  I will turn around for a second and you’re at the other side of the room.  Now we have to watch out when Ariya pulls out her puzzles, because you love chewing on those puzzle pieces!

You’re eight months now.  We had your 8 month check up and learned that you’re not gaining any weight.  The same thing happened with Ariya at 6 months.  So now it’s time to supplement your diet with formula.  I always hoped that I’d at least nurse you for 6 months, even a year.  When we passed the 6 month mark, I thought, wow, maybe we can do this, maybe we can make it to a year? Unfortunately, this is not the case. I have so many thoughts about this.  I’m sad.  I feel like my little baby is growing too fast.  I’ll miss our moments of nursing together.  The quiet, the calm, the bond we have.  I talked to 3 lactation consultants, just to understand how it all works and where it went wrong for me.  It’s interesting how everyone’s nursing experience is different.  I may have to make this a personal photography project of mine, documenting the women that have trouble nursing successfully (and what successful means to them).  But that’s for another blog post.

I think your first tooth is coming in!  I can feel it, just ready to break through.  Wow, you’re growing so fast.  Can we please freeze time just for a little bit?  I’m not ready for you or your sister to get bigger and bigger.

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All these pictures are an assortment of film and digital.

 

Project 365 Film edition – May 2016

So, as I’ve said in past blog posts about film, I’m obsessed.  like OBSESSED!  I’ve shot a TON of film.  Picking the best 30 or 31 for each month is no problem.  I probably have enough for the rest of the summer, and it’s barely started.  I’ve shared a ton on instagram, so if you feel like checking me out there, the link is here.

Recently, I submitted a few photos to the Analog story.  I wanted to share my story, why I shoot film.  Best decision I ever made, committing to shooting film.  Unfortunately, my husband is starting to wonder what all is involved (cost of film, cost of development, etc).  But then he loves the prints that come back.  So I’d say it’s well worth it.

Here are a few of my favorites from this month. Some Portra 160, Portra 160NC, Portra 400, Lomo 800, Fuji 400h.  Shot with Nikon f100, Pentax 6×7 and Mamiya 645AF.

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Project 365 Film edition – April 2016

This project focused solely on film has become so much bigger than I thought it would.  I’m obsessed.  The loading of the film, the guessing with the metering (I’m too lazy to pull out my handheld meter most of the time, a goal of mine is to get better at metering accurately), deciding what to rate the film at, if I’m going to push it, shoot without knowing if I got the shot, or how it will look after it’s developed, the process of packing up the film to mail out and be developed by a film lab, the anticipation of getting that email saying that my scans are ready to be downloaded, clicking on the link, and loving close to every one of my photos.  No joke.  This is a serious love affair.  I have BARELY touched my dslr b/c I’ve been OBSESSED with film.  Like, really obsessed.  Any way, I’m not going to bore you with my all of my film shots, b/c they’re mostly of family.  But I will post a few of my favorites from this month. If you follow me on instagram, you most likely have already seen these pictures, as I was too excited to wait until this blog post to share.  But if you haven’t seen these, well here you go!

Nikon f100, fuji200

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Nikon f100, portra 800

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Nikon f100, fuji 400h

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Nikon f100, ilford xp2

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Project 365 Film edition – March 2016

I’m so in love with film.  So in love.  I’m learning a ton, and I still have a LONG way to go.  But shooting film just fits with my lifestyle right now.  one thing I’m starting to hate is the time I spend on my laptop.  When it was just Ariya, I had plenty of time to sit down after her bed time and just hang out on the laptop, upload pictures, edit, etc.  Now, with a baby…forget about it.  Asha only naps for 30 minutes at a time in her crib.  She can be high maintenance at night.  And honestly, I’m just tired. At night,  I just want to sit down, watch my favorite tv show, hang out with the hubs actually have a conversation.  So the only time I want to spend on the laptop is if I’m typing up a blog post.  Like right now.  Right now, my husband and I are catching up on the OJ mini series.  Ariya is in bed, Asha is swaddled and in his arms.  And I”m catching up on blogging.

So, a few days late, but here are a few pictures from March on film.

Mamiya 645 and Portra 160

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Mamiya 645 and Kodak 400vc (Had I known how awesome this film was, I would have treated this differently.  But now I’m on the hunt for more VC. If you have any, send some my way)

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Nikon f100 and fuji 800.  This was old expired film that my mom gave me.  I didn’t know how to rate expired film, or if I should tell the lab to push it.  Had I known, I would have done things differently.  But now I know, and have some more expired film that I plan to experiment with.

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Mamiya C330 and fuji 400h

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Mamiya 645 and Portra 800

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Nikon f100 and Portra 400 rated at 200

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That’s it for March!  I’ve got plenty more for April.  This 365 project is going much better than my digital version, that’s for sure.  But, I refuse to give up!

Project 365 Film edition – February 2016

I survived the 2nd month of this film 365.  I tried 2 different things this month.  I tried pushing film and I tried using the lensbaby sweet 35 on my Nikon f100.  I’m not sure if I was successful, but at least I tried 🙂  I still don’t know what I’m doing (I don’t know if I ever will), but I’m having fun trying! And for the record, I’m having a hard time taking a photo every day.  so my rule for this project is to get at least a decent photo for each day of the month.  I may get a few decent photos on one day, nothing on the next day, maybe a few more dent photos in one day, etc.  The only way I can keep this project going.

Tri-X 400 +2 on Nikon f100, using the lensbaby sweet 35

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Tri-X 400 on Pentax 6×7 with 105mm lens

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Portra 400 on Mamiya 645 and 80mm lens50_021916 51_022016 52_022116 53_022216 54_022316 55_022416 56_022516 57_022616

Portra 160 on Mamiya 645 and 80mm lens58_022716 59_022816 60_022916

My first film Project 365 – January 2016

So, I fell in love with film some time last year.  Within that time, I’ve acquired a lot of film and a few (ok, a lot of) film cameras.  Somehow I developed a fear of shooting film in manual.  I was always ok with a point and shoot.  I shot film a ton in high school, I just let the camera make all the decisions.  After taking a workshop last year, I got into it…and then I stopped.  I took ANOTHER workshop late last year, got into it…and then stopped.  What was wrong with me?  The fear was there.  So I thought for 2016, in addition to my regular digital project 365, I’d do a film 365.  I’m crazy, I know.  BUT, I really want to know these cameras and these film stocks inside and out.  I want to get comfortable with metering.  And I figured this would be the best way to do it.

I won’t post all 31 pictures for this month.  There were  a few successes and a few failures.  I’ll go ahead and post a few of both, b/c I need to document this progress.  I also need to go back through my notes to see why some of these photos worked and some didn’t.

I also have 2 rolls of black & white film still in development (at the FIND lab).  So look out for another blog post from me soon.

Here goes (and yes, I know more than a few are blurry and aren’t that awesome.  but not every photo can be awesome right?  and yes, most of these photos will be of my girls while I try to figure this film thing out):

Mamiya C330 with fuji 400h

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Nikon F100 with Portra 800

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Seattle Film Works

Ever since my foray into film, I’ve been trying to read as many articles, take as many workshops and join as many Facebook pages dedicated to film as I could.  I joined the film mama | the forum Facebook page a while back for the eye candy, and to learn as much as I could.  One day, a very kind Facebook member, Gretchen Willis of Gretchen Willis Photography came into a TON of Seattle Film Works film.  I can’t remember how she got it, but she was offering to send it out as an experiment, which would later turn into a blog circle.  I had no idea what I was doing, I still had no clue how to use a meter, and just used my Nikon f100’s internal camera meter to expose.  But I thought, what the heck, let’s see what I can do.  And surprisingly, the results were decent!  Here are a few photos of our excursion at Great Country Farms and Woodbine Farms.

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To follow the blog circle and see some amazing work, please click here.

 

The Film & Roots Workshop Review Part 2

A few weeks ago, I had written Part 1 Review of the Film & Roots Workshop here.  For the afternoon session, we did a family session.  I decided to try some B&W film and used Kodak Tri-X 400.  I’ve never shot black and white film before, and this experience was interesting.  There were some situations where I was like “oh man, I wish I had color film to capture this really neat sun flare”.  But it was cool to see how the shadows and contrast translated in the film.  I underexposed quite a few frames, but hey, this was my first time, so I give myself a pass.  Anyway, if you want to find out more about this workshop, click here.  Without further ado, here are my favorite shots from this session.

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The Film & Roots Workshop Review Part 1

I’ve always loved capturing moments.  First with a point and shoot olympus film camera in high school, and then on to a Nikon dslr.  As I’ve reflected on my personal journey of photography, I’ve always found an appeal with film photography.  The fear of loading the film correctly, not knowing whether I got the shot or what it will look like, the anticipation as I send my roll in to be developed, receiving the prints or scans and reliving that day.  It’s a great feeling.  As I’m learning more and more about photography and editing, I long for a simpler time, where I don’t have to spend as much time in front of the laptop, staring at a photo, trying to get it right.

Some time last year, I “met” Jennifer Warthan through Facebook, on one of the film Facebook groups.  I’ve always loved her work, and when I saw that she was offering a workshop, I jumped at the chance!  I won a Nikon F100 off ebay and shot a roll of film, playing around with the settings.  I still need to send that in to be developed,  I had no idea what I was doing!  Thank goodness for Jennifer!

The workshop was amazing.  It was from 10am – 6pm, set in the beautiful peanut country of Waverly VA, at Jennifer’s cottage.  There were 2 other lovely ladies in the workshop along with me, so it was nice and intimate.  Jennifer provided breakfast, lunch and snacks, refreshments, and we had everything we need to feel right at home.  But I was anxious to jump in.  As soon as we entered the cottage, there was a table FULL of different film cameras and film stock.  And I was drooling.  Just 2 days after attending the workshop, I’m already searching for a medium format camera.  Jennifer went through the difference between 35mm and medium format cameras, and then moved on to the different film stocks out there.  She had an easy way of explaining how to apply the exposure triangle to film.  It was hard not to trust my camera sensor and to let go.

Shortly after our discussion, our sweet model Ally came.  She was the perfect model, up for anything.  I already had Kodak Ultramax 400 loaded in my Nikon f100, so I used that roll for part of the session.  Then, as we moved outdoors into the full sun, I switched to Kodak Ektar 100.  And throughout the morning session, every time I took a picture, I would look at the back of the camera to see how it came through.  The anticipation was killing me.  However, shooting film did cause me to slow down, really think about what I wanted to shoot, carefully compose and then go for it.

After our morning session, we broke for lunch.  Jennifer showed us how to develop our film, which was pretty cool stuff.  Not sure if I trust myself to develop my own film just yet, but it was neat to know that I could if I wanted to.  She then scanned our film rolls using her Pakon scanner.  It was amazing seeing some of the shots that we took.  It really was like Christmas, the anticipation, not knowing if any pictures came out ok. There were definitely more than a few keepers.  The colors were amazing!  The detail in the sky came through.  Honestly, I did not have to do much for post processing.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

These are Kodak Ultramax 400.

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These are Kodak Ektar 100

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Watching the pro in action

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We shot a family session for the afternoon.  I thought I’d try a black and white film stock, Tri-X 400, I believe.  I hope they turned out ok,  I still need to send it in to be scanned.  I’ll keep you posted!

If you’re in or around the Waverly, VA area, you have got to check this workshop out!  You can find more info here.  You won’t regret it!